A new tomato gene that ‘paves the way for future fruits’

In a scientific breakthrough, scientists have discovered a gene in tomatoes that they claim can be “knocked out” to produce sweeter fruits and vegetables of the future.

An international team led by the University of Newcastle has identified the INVINH1 gene that plays a role in limiting the amount of sugar supplied to each part of the plant, and if it is inhibited from expressing itself, more sugar can be supplied to certain parts of the plant, including seeds and fruit.

And, according to scientists, if applied to other fruits and vegetables, the technology could increase crop seed yield, fruit quality and extend shelf life, reports The Plant Cell journal.

Lead scientist Professor Yong-ling Ruan said the discovery arose from the need to consider the long-term security of the food supply.

“With predictions that the world population could double in the next 50 years, scientists are concerned about the pressure on the world’s natural resources.

“Faced with the impacts of climate change and population growth on food supplies, our research is helping to address the challenge of how to maintain and improve crop yields and quality.

“Breakthrough is an exciting development. Research like this will hopefully lead to improved crops that can help feed and clothe millions of people in times of climate crisis,” he said.

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